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Over 82% of small businesses have experienced a negative impact, and 70% believe it will take them nearly a year to recover demand levels prior to covid-19, according to a survey by Dun & Bradstreet, a provider of commercial data, analytics, and insights for businesses.

The survey, titled--Impact of covid-19 on small businesses in India and the way ahead-- states that around 60% of companies surveyed expect more measures and support, including government initiatives. Further, the three topmost challenges that might hinder small businesses to scale up their businesses are market access (42%), improving the overall productivity (37%), and having access to more finance (34%).

“The pandemic has sped up the pace of digitization across sectors and businesses have reaped advantages like cost reduction and increased productivity. Globally, digital adoption has accelerated by 7 years due to the covid-19 crisis," said Avinash Gupta, Managing Director, Dun & Bradstreet India, adding that the survey points out that 82% of surveyed Small Businesses have digitized their daily operations during this pandemic, which helped them in a reduction in cost (54%) and enhancing competitiveness (51%).

This survey covers responses from over 250 small businesses (50% each in manufacturing and services sectors) with annual revenue between 100 and 300 crores across seven major cities in India.

The granular firm-level data indicated that around 95% of firms were impacted in April 2020 when the national lockdown was imposed. Even with progressive unlocking, 70% of businesses remained disrupted till August 2020 and 40% till the end of February 2021.

During the survey, the small business owners cited that the three most important support measures that they need to revive their businesses post the pandemic are--better credit facility (59%), better marketing support (48%), and adoption of technology (35%).

"Small businesses are the hardest hit across countries and sectors, and India is no exception. The pandemic has exacerbated some of these issues and made scaling up company activities even more difficult. Given the intensity and duration of pandemic's devastation, these threats are likely to persist in the near future as well," said

Arun Singh, Global Chief Economist, Dun & Bradstreet, adding that the rate of recovery of India's commercial enterprises, and thereby the economy, will be determined by the strength of the recovery of small businesses.

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